In the year 2009, Martin Luther King’s dream was fulfilled when Barrack Hussein Obama became the first African American to become the President of the U.S.A. He has ever since been epitomized as an icon of change.
I hail from a country that is 64 years ‘young’ and constantly being challenged. From the stormy sessions of the Parliament to individual movements, prevalent circumstances prove that India unlike the United States is still in a period of transition. This is why a 74- year old like Anna Hazare posed a challenge to the supreme democratic institution, the Parliament; the questions that he posed vital. And although I may not be in agreement with his methods, I concede to his proposition that we all need a clean and functioning democracy.
In a country that is home to one- sixth of the entire world’s population, India yearns for redemption of a different kind. It is waiting for a solution that will obliterate rigidity and embrace positive modern values.
Democracy is not limited to values embedded in the Preamble to the Constitution of India. It is the practice of these values in letter and spirit that will empower our country. It must be reiterated that even under an alien rule, India did not beg for freedom; instead it demanded Freedom. The members of the Constituent Assembly did not know what obstacles lay ahead of them but prepared one of the most comprehensive documents in World History that sought to find a remedy for every eventuality.
We need the same today. We need to envision our future. Unfortunately the growing cynicism and apathy towards politics and political institutions shows that the country is slowly succumbing to social and political stagnation.
Khalil Gibran once famously wrote: “Reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.” It is vital that the passion to make a difference converge with the reason to effect this transformation. A definite balance between passion and reason must be struck. This is why we need a concrete plan, because change is not a political fantasy.
Simple steps that can trigger a positive change include the introduction of Political Engages to be organised by various political parties and expose the youth to all kinds of ideologies thereby creating liberal yet pragmatic thinkers. Establishing a direct contact with people is the second important factor. Lincoln won many hearts not through speeches but by a simple gesture of growing a beard to please an eleven year old child. We may not have a Lincoln, but we have a Shashi Tharoor, Naveen Jindal and Sushma Swaraj who try to build an alternative platform for contact and political accountability on social networking portals. As an avid tweeter, I often encounter fellow youth members dwell on cynicism and criticism of various political figures. Media villains are created almost every day. What we all need is an ability to weigh the facts in with logical reasoning rather than speculative apprehension.
India doesn’t need a foreign icon for change. She has gifted the world some of the finest International leaders. They may have faced criticism at home but continue to be remembered as the world icons. We have the best sources of Soft Power, from a rich and varied Indian culture to Bollywood which promotes cultural diplomacy elevating India’s image on the Global front. Indian Pluralism needs to be celebrated. After all, how many countries have the privilege of a firm but united foundation that is based on ‘Diversities’ be it language, religion, class or creed?
The concept of ‘True Freedom’ can only be completely understood when we possess the earnest desire to free ourselves from the ramshackle of old- fashioned and narrow minded thought processes.
It is a sorrowful sight when one is subjected to one- sided media views. It is worse when a politician is reduced to a caricature. It is unfair to generalise that the view of one politician is the view of the entire party and things become worse when the media blows things out of proportion when personal views are divergent from the party making it look like there is severe dissent in the party. India is in need of a certain degree of political maturity. The ground rule is that as long as the members within a party remain united and loyal to the party in totality, minor differences are inconsequential. We must learn to respect individual views with objective rationale than succumbing to subjective reasoning that clouts the mind.
Having said that, it also becomes necessary to highlight that just as how it is essential that the Media imposes some self- restraints, we ourselves are in need of transformation. India deserves a reformist, broad minded citizenry whose sole focus is a Progressive India.
For young defenders of a democratic society, the answer is simple, “In each of us, there resides an Obama. In each of us, lies the potent to transform this Democracy into an intellectually forward, pragmatically sound and culturally strong country.”Development of a social and politically mature society, will serve as a positive political stimulus to attract the youth, the harbinger of hope in this country and Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “Be the change that you wish to see” will come alive.